To Migrate or Not to Migrate: Punjabi Women’s Thoughts on Migration

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Diditi MITRA, Brookdale Community College, USA
In this paper, I explore how women negotiate their roles within immigrant families in individual and relational terms, and its subsequent impact on the families’ patterns of settlement. Sikhs, an understudied immigrant group, is the focus of this paper. I look particularly at how the distribution of advantages and disadvantages for Sikh women impact the ways in which they see themselves and others concerning decisions surrounding migration. The methodology is a combination of ethnography and semi-structured interviews conducted with Sikh immigrant women in the New York tri-state area as well as families with migration aspirations and return migrants who live in the Punjab, a state in India that is the point of origin for many of the Sikh women. The findings advance knowledge in the following areas: a) expand research on this understudied immigrant group from South Asia, b) show the importance of analyzing intra-group differences in order to illuminate the multiple axis of settlement of any one immigrant group, and c) pushes for theoretical frames that will capture this complex immigrant experience that considers the intersection of various categories and social locations that shape the lives of women in immigrant families.